Nationwide, the nature and demographics of the professoriate have changed in the recent past, and female and male faculty members often combine family responsibilities with the development of their academic careers. Extensive research has shown and the University Task Force on Family Friendly Policies firmly believes that Family Friendly Policies are in the best long-term interest of the University. Recent research conducted by the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education , and the American Association of University Women as well as many other individuals and institutions suggests that a strong set of policies that support faculty in their efforts to combine their work and family life will serve as a powerful recruitment and retention tool for all faculty as well as improve employee morale. The long-term benefits of such policies to the faculty, as well as the University, will help to further achieve SIUE’s goal of becoming a premier metropolitan university. These benefits far outweigh the short-term costs of such policies.
Based on this national research as well as an examination of SIUE’s current policies published in the Faculty Handbook and online by the Office of Human Resources, the SIUE Task Force has identified three main areas in which SIUE could improve its policies and the benefits available to faculty in order to help improve recruitment and retention of top-quality faculty as well as improve working conditions and satisfaction for current faculty. These include: 1) family leave to care for newborn or newly adopted children, or for seriously ill family members ; 2) flexibility in the duration of the probationary period for tenure-track
faculty; and 3) on-campus and other child-care resources.
“Designing and Implementing Family-Friendly Policies in Higher Education” by Gilia C. Smith and Jean A Waltman, published by the University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women, 2006, p. 7.
“Family-Friendly Policies in Higher Education: Where Do We Stand?”, Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan. Retrieved May 16, 2007 from the CEW’s website: http://www.cew.umich.edu/PDFs/pubs/wherestand.pdf. Some language in the proposed SIUE policies (in appendices) has been taken from this Univ. of Michigan publication, which suggests policy language.
Williams, J. “The Subtle Side of Discrimination”, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 13, 2003.
Mason, M.A. and Goulden, M., “Do Babies Matter? The Effect of Family Formation on the Lifelong Careers of Academic Men and Women”, Academe: Bulletin of the AAUP 88, pp. 21-27, 2002.
An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers. Washington, D.C.: Office of Women in Higher Education, 2005.
Tenure Denied: Cases of Sex Discrimination in Academia, American Association of University Women, 2004.
This document utilizes SIUE’s definition of family, which includes same-sex domestic partners.
Current SIUE Policies for Faculty (non-Represented):
The Task Force has conducted extensive analysis of SIUE’s Faculty Handbook and information published on SIUE’s Human Resources website, and has received anecdotal accounts of individuals’ experiences across units throughout the University at all stages of careers (tenure-track, tenured, assistant, associate, full professors). It appears that these policies are not regularly or uniformly applied across all departments and units, but rather on an ad hoc basis. Furthermore, faculty may not always be aware of SIUE’s existing policies, how to find them, or how to interpret them. Based on this research, the Task Force desires to engage in a full consideration of SIUE’s current practices and policies. (http://www.siue.edu/provost/fhb/)
I. Family and Dependent Care Leave: Discussion of Current Policies
1. SIUE adheres to the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which among other things, states that employees are permitted to take up to 12 weeks of leave without repercussions to their job security. FMLA does not address paid leave of any kind and has no stipulations enforcing the use of paid leave for childbirth recovery or dependent care. Furthermore, it only covers employees beyond their first calendar year of employment.
2. With the exception of paid temporary leave (up to two weeks), SIUE currently has no official language for faculty regarding leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or seriously ill family member. There are policies for leaves of absence without pay (for personal or professional purposes), paid sick leave (accruable and non-accruable), and temporary paid leave for all faculty, as well as stipulations for paid vacation leave for faculty on 12-month appointments. Anecdotal evidence suggests that SIUE’s Human Resources personnel have stated orally to faculty seeking information about leave for childbirth and recovery that they have two options to receive paid leave:
a. Faculty may opt, if they have it, to take up to 6 weeks of paid sick leave (accruable and non-accruable) for childbirth recovery if the birth was not a caesarian section.
b. Faculty may take up to 8 weeks of paid sick leave (accruable and non-accruable), if they have had a caesarian section..
c. Both of these alternatives require a doctor’s authorization that is subject to approval by SIUE’s Human Resources. Human Resources does not indicate who approves such leaves or how their process of review of such doctor’s notes works.
d. Beyond 6-8 weeks, SIUE does not typically allow faculty to take more paid sick leave, even if they have accrued it, unless medically necessary. An approved doctor’s note stating the reasons for such “extensions” beyond 6-8 weeks must be submitted by faculty and is subject to approval by Human Resources.
e. Beyond 12 weeks of either paid or unpaid (sick) leave, faculty are not necessarily covered by their university-sponsored insurance, as the leave provided by FMLA ends.
f. Faculty who are in their first-year of employment are not covered by the federal FMLA, and therefore not necessarily allowed to take advantage of SIUE’s existing policies.
3. Because SIUE lacks official language with regard to these matters for faculty, there is potential for, and indeed anecdotal evidence of, a lack of uniform interpretation and application of policies across units and ranks at SIUE.
4. To complete a 17-week semester, a faculty member who takes the potential maximum of 12 weeks of paid/unpaid leave, if they have accrued it, would then either return to work for the remainder of the academic semester or be required to pay full health insurance coverage (premiums plus university-paid portion) if not returning to work.
II. Probationary Period for Tenure-track Faculty: Current Policies
1. SIUE’s current policy for extension of the Probationary Period for Tenure-track faculty states (http://www.siue.edu/provost/fhb/7-16-7.shtml):
The period of probationary service shall be continuous and shall include released time from the academic unit, leaves of absence with pay, and sabbatical leaves. The period shall be suspended during, but not terminated by, authorized leaves of absence without pay and disability leaves.
The maximum probationary period may be extended by one year by mutual written agreement of the faculty member, the department chair (after consultation with the tenured faculty in the academic unit), the dean, and the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
2. There is no official language in the policy regarding the reasons for extension of the probationary period, or for suspensions to care for newborn or newly adopted children or seriously ill family members. Anecdotal evidence indicates that such extensions are not commonly realized by faculty, that they are rarely taken, and if they do occur at SIUE, it is on an ad hoc basis. Furthermore, they are often initiated by administrators and not by faculty themselves.
3. There is no official language in SIUE’s tenure policies regarding how departmental and college tenure review committees or unit directors should treat any extensions or suspensions of the probationary period in their review of individual applications for tenure.
III. Child Care for Faculty: Discussion of Current Policies
1. Currently, the Early Childhood Center (ECC), under the auspices of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, prioritizes the children of students in its facility. Faculty often must put their children on extensive and long-term waitlists for slots, or find other off-campus child care. As stated on the ECC website (http://www.siue.edu/earlychildhood/enrollment/):
The Early Childhood Center primary mission is to provide convenient, high quality care and education for the children of University families. One of our primary goals is to help student parents complete their education at SIUE successfully. Children of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students receive highest priority on our waiting lists. SIUE staff and faculty families receive the next highest priority because of the important role they play in making it possible for SIUE students to succeed in attaining their education and career goals. Children from non-SIUE affiliated families are accepted on a limited basis.
2. The ECC covers care for children aged 2 years and older, and closes by 6 pm each weekday. It does not cover infant care or care for children of students or faculty who have evening classes.
3. A recent survey of the SIUE community conducted by Marie Byrd-Blake and Cathy Santanello strongly indicates that more faculty slots are necessary for the ECC, and adequate infant care is lacking (see Survey Analysis, Appendix One).
4. Information about off-campus resources for child-care is available through the homepage of the Early Childhood Center, but is not intuitively accessible for faculty.
5. The recent initiation of a $2 million expansion of the ECC is wonderful news for both faculty and students, but does not address several of the issues brought up by the survey, including prioritization of slots for faculty, hours of operation and age of children eligible for such care.
Recommendations of the Task Force
The Task Force strongly encourages SIUE to change existing policies and/or adopt new ones based on the following recommendations. In general, the Task force also suggests that SIUE maintain a family tolerant atmosphere without compromising professional comportment. We have enumerated below several implementation guidelines—which we believe are crucial for effective administration of the policies.
I. Family and Dependent Care Leave
1. Family leave policies should include all faculty not governed by collective bargaining agreements, even those who are in their first year of employment.
2. The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a baseline, but does not reflect the realities of work-life at a university on a semester system. Accommodations for family life should, wherever possible, minimize the impact of faculty leave time on student learning in a way that is most appropriate to that unit. This may include extending the leave for an entire semester, allowing faculty to teach on-line courses in the weeks leading up to or following their leave, or other flexible options. In such cases, at a minimum, the University should continue to pay its portion of the health care premiums and other benefits for the faculty member.
3. Faculty are expected to notify their unit directors promptly when a need for accommodation becomes necessary. Faculty, chairs and deans must negotiate what will be the optimal solution for both personal and professional needs. This agreement regarding flexible arrangements must be made in writing at the earliest possible time and signed by the faculty member, and approved by the chair and the dean.
4. Faculty sick leave may be used to its fullest extent during a negotiated family leave, even extending beyond federal FMLA coverage. Faculty may also choose to negotiate a time period of half-time appointment, for half-pay with full benefits.
5. These policies should be easily accessible online in written form and in clear, easy-to-understand language. A new Work/Life webpage with important information and links regarding policies, benefits, and resources should be created. This is very important to have available easily.
II. Probationary Period for Tenure-Track Faculty (“the Tenure Clock”)
1. Faculty members should have the flexibility to suspend the probationary period for one-year increments for reasons related to family leave including, but not limited to: the birth or adoption or a child, and care-giving for a seriously ill family member.
2. A faculty member who chooses to exercise any benefit or option with regard to family leave should not be affected adversely during the tenure review process.
III. Child Care Options on Campus and Beyond
1. High-quality, affordable child care should be available on campus for faculty.
2. SIUE should provide appropriate information and links on its Work/Life Resources webpage to important local and regional institutions. It should be easily accessible for faculty to develop off-campus child care options.
Attached in Appendix One is the analysis of a survey on Child Care conducted in Fall 2006 by Dr. Byrd-Blake and Dr. Santanello
Task Force Members:
Allison Thomason, Associate Professor, Historical Studies, Chair of Task Force
Kim Shaw, Associate Professor and Chair, Physics (former member)
Andrea Reaka, Assistant Professor, Pharmacy (former member)
Cathy Santanello, Assistant Professor, Pharmacy
Belinda Carstens-Wickham, Professor and Chair, Foreign Languages and Literature
Marie Byrd-Blake, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership (former member)
Catherine Seltzer, English Language and Literature
SIUE Spring 2006 Faculty and Staff Child Care Survey Analysis
(Total respondents = 409; complete results data available if needed)
• 57% (214 of 373) of respondents feel SIUE should expand the child care facilities on campus to offer more slots for children of faculty and staff.
• 48% (197) of respondents have children under the age of 18 living at home.
• Of faculty and staff who responded and currently have child care needs, 88% (131) DO NOT use SIUE child care services. Many cite unavailability as a reason.
• Of faculty and staff who previously used child care, 70% (73) DID NOT use SIUE child care services.
• If space were available, 43% of respondents who currently have child care needs would use SIUE child care services.
• Of respondents who currently have child care needs for children younger than two, 40% (17) use center-based child care; with those who have children between 2-5, 60% use center-based child care. 81% of future child care users expect to use full-time center-based child care.
• Of the respondents who currently have child care needs, proximity to work (51%) and proximity to home (50%) were most important considerations when making arrangements. Of those, 47% considered center-based care when making those arrangements.
• 42% of respondents who currently have child care needs have their children in day care for forty or more hours per week.
Approved and accepted by the Welfare Council on April 23, 2009.
Submitted to the Faculty Senate on May 7, 2009.